Religious Groups

A meeting of religious individuals

The U.S. Department of Justice's Community Relations Service (CRS) has a long history of working impartially with religious groups across the nation in a variety of ways to help support their efforts to:

  • Effectively address faith-based violence, such as the desecration, graffiti defacement, and arson of places of worship
  • Effectively address hate or bias-motivated crimes and incidents in their communities
  • Effectively respond to allegations of religious profiling and excessive use of force by law enforcement
  • Develop cultural professionalism trainings for law enforcement and other communities unaware of the practices and nuances of a particular religion
  • Ensure equitable access to services for their members
  • Communicate more effectively and in productive collaboration with advocacy groups, elected officials, decision-makers, agency heads, and policy developers
  • Cultivate working partnerships with existing leadership and other support service agencies, including law enforcement
  • Collaborate effectively with other groups taking part in task forces
  • Improve religious groups' representation
  • Develop mutually agreed-upon action plans to achieve long- and short-term goals
  • Ensure all members of the religious community group receive equal treatment
  • Strengthen problem-solving and mediation skills
  • Establish programs to eliminate racial and ethnic misconceptions and resolve conflicts
  • Host community meetings to address issues of concern
  • Create sustainable solutions to religious community problems
  • Create sustainable solutions to community problems
  • Effectively address faith-based community disturbances, such as protests and demonstrations
  • Assist demonstration organizers with planning, managing, and coordinating safe marches and demonstrations

The Community Relations Service is a conflict resolution agency. Created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, CRS is the only federal agency dedicated to helping state and local governments, private and public organizations, and community groups prevent and resolve racial and ethnic tensions, civil disorder based on race, color, or national origin, and to address and prevent hate crimes. CRS supports the U.S. Department of Justice in some of its most important missions-providing assistance to state and local authorities in their efforts to prevent violence, resolve destructive conflicts, and promote public safety and ensuring that the rights of individuals are protected. CRS works with police chiefs, mayors, school administrators, other local and state authorities, community-based organizations, and civil and human rights groups to resolve disputes, disagreements, and difficulties relating to discriminatory practices and to prevent and address hate crimes.

CRS' highly skilled conflict resolution specialists-called conciliators-have helped resolve thousands of cases involving excessive use of force incidents, hate crimes, demonstrations, changing community demographics, and many other emotionally charged issues in which disagreement and conflict arise on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or disability. CRS conciliators do not take sides in a dispute, and they do not investigate, prosecute, impose solutions, assign blame, or assess fault. They are required by law to conduct their activities in confidence and without publicity and are prohibited from disclosing confidential information about cases in which they have provided services. Since CRS' activities are federally funded, conciliators are able to offer services without cost. Conciliators deploy to communities nationwide from 14 regional offices. They serve all 50 States and the U.S. Territories

Case Highlights

Updated July 6, 2015